Copyright © 2015 Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church | Glendale CA

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1800 Lake Street

Glendale, CA 91201

(818) 507-7400

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Christianity came to Armenia in the first century A.D. Tradition tells us about the Apostles Thaddaeus and Bartholomew having preached in Armenia. In 301 A.D. the Armenian King Dertad became Christian and proclaimed Christianity as State religion for the first time in history.

In the year 551 A.D. the Armenian Church separated itself from the rest of Christendom and became an independent national church with its own liturgy, doctrine and hierarchy, headed by the Catholicos, Supreme Bishop of all Armenians.

In the course of time many foreign elements found their way into the practice and liturgy of the Armenian Church. Many attempts had been made to bring about reform. They had not been successful. In the early part of the nineteenth century the Peshtimaljian Seminary was opened in Istanbul, Turkey, to prepare new clergymen who hopefully could bring reform. Just at that time American Congregational missionaries arrived in Istanbul and they were welcomed by the Armenian Patriarch and the seminary president. However, the Patriarch changed his mind, dispersed the students and drove out the missionaries. The reform minded believers were deprived of their civil rights and persecuted mercilessly. This was the beginning of the Armenian Evangelical Church, instituted on July l, 1846, in Istanbul Turkey.

In 1914 came the horrors of the First World War which shook the world. The Armenians were uprooted from their homes, lands and experienced the First Genocide of the 20th Century perpetrated by the Turks. Out of three million Armenians, a million and half were annihilated. The survivors took refuge in some countries of Europe, others in Russia, in the Arab countries and some in North and South America.

–by Rev. Harry Missirlian

 The Story of Our Church (Introduction)

Our church was founded around 1925. Armenian families in the Los Angeles area came together to establish the nucleus of this soon-to-be Armenian Church. One of our founding brothers, Levon Shabaghlian, was instrumental in the establishment of the church and later would also be integral to the development over the years. He along with Dikran Tarpinian initially started prayer meetings in their homes. Since there were no Armenian Evangelical churches in the Greater Los Angeles area, they gathered in private homes. As their numbers grew, they located to an old YMCA building and organized a congregation under the leadership of Rev. Eflatone E. Elmajian.

It was also during this time that Rev. Elmajian's trilingual (and later bilingual) hymnal was published and used by Armenian churches. However, their time at the YMCA did not last very long and the congregation had to once again look for a new facility. They moved their meetings to a mortuary on Main Street which they were able to rent for $20.00 a month. Their attendance increased once again in 1928 as numerous families moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia and joined the church. Once again the congregation moved to a new location and for the next three years they rented space from a local Seventh Day Adventist Church.

In 1931, the congregation adopted the name Armenian Gospel Mission. Rev. Elmajian continued to serve as pastor of the church for the next seven years. Then the pastoral responsibilities were passed on to Rev. Peter Agulian. The congregation was steadily growing in number and there were approximately 120 individuals attending the worship services on Sundays. The pastor and the congregation felt that no facility would meet all their needs unless they built it themselves, so they decided they wanted a place of their own. Rev. Agulian and Brother Shahbaghlian initiated a search for land in order to construction of a church building. In 1945, they located a property on the corner of London Street and Silverlake Boulevard for $3,900. It was an exciting time for everyone.

Members of the congregation worked hand-in-hand to construct the building which still stands today. Three months after the construction of the building Rev. Agulian passes away. Rev. Hovannes Markarian (John Mark) assumed the responsibility of leading the congregation in 1951. He moved into the attic of the Church and for the next seven years he served the church and the community. The church financed Rev. John Mark’s missionary and evangelistic trips during this time.

From 1954 until 1958 Rev. Nerses Sarian served the Church taking on the pastoral responsibilities. After Rev. Sarian finished his two year term, the church was left without a pastor It was at this time that Rev. Touryan assumed pastoral responsibilities both at his home church in Pasadena as well as the Silverlake Church. Church membership declined in the next few years and those remaining belonged to an older age group. Sunday School and Youth groups ceased to exist for a time. Rev. Touryan commuted from Pasadena every Sunday to preach the sermon and to administer communion. During his tenure the church was renamed  Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church in 1959.

n 1964, Brother Baghdasar Ajemian, from Lebanon, aided with Sunday Sermons. In 1973, Brother Missak Hairapetian, from Iran, helped Brother Ajemian in conducting these services. However, in 1985, Brother Ajemian moved to Fresno and Brother Hairapetian welcomed the task of leading Sunday Services as well as reestablishing and leading the youth group.

In mid 1986, Rev. Dikran Shanlian, who visited occasionally with Rev. Touryan was asked to serve as pastor. Within two years Rev. Shanlian was ordained as senior pastor of AEBC. Rev. Konsulian, Brother Hairapetian and the elders of the church officiated.

A few years after Rev. Shanlian started pastoring the church, Antranig Afsharian joined alongside him for many years serving as moderator, worship leader and elder. He aided Rev. Shanlian in all duties and along with his wife Sara Afsharian he revived the music ministry of the church as well.

In 1987, AEBC started publishing its newsletter, “Բարի Լուր” (Good News). Pastor Shanlian wrote and edited this newsletter which featured a devotional, words of wisdom, endeavors of the church and other announcements.

In 1996, with God’s will and grace, a new church was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the leadership of Gevork Paronyan, the Ararat Evangelical Church continues to grow and minister to the Armenian familes in the Great Salt Lake City area.

In 2005, the church family and friends celebrated 80 years of ministry. There had been discussions and fundraising for many years leading up to this milestone for a new church property which could better accommodate present and future needs. The following year, a new property was located in Glendale on the corner of Lake Street and Thompson Ave., close to the Interstate 5 Freeway.

After lengthy meetings and timely decisions the property was in escrow. In January of the following year the property belonged to AEBC and renovations started. In May of 2006, the congregation had their last service at Silverlake. The following Sunday the doors opened at Lake Street for the first Sunday worship service.

In September the official dedication ceremony was held in the main sanctuary with family, friends and dignitaries. With God’s grace and the leadership of Pastor Shanlian and the church council, AEBC was able to purchase the Lake Street property without selling the Sliverlake property. A loan from the AMAA made the purchase possible from New Life Christian Church. The Sliverlake property is currently in use by three groups for their Sunday and weekly services.

We exist to glorify God, preach Christ crucified, grow a place of belonging for our people and serve the greater community.

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